The race for jobs pits city against city – state against state. Taxes, weather, and access to transportation are one thing – actually, they're three things. But the head of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition says it boils down to who has the best human capital.
“The driving factor that we hear time and time again is that we live in a knowledge-based economy driven by innovation, and companies will sink or swim based on their ability to attract and retain talent,” says the coalition's president and CEO, Mark Harris. “In Illinois, we believe our key value proposition for companies is the talent that we have, and I think that will attract, and continue to attract, companies to want to be here and to want to stay here.”
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Key to that, Harris says, is STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math education. The Illinois Innovation Index that the coalition puts out shows the state is catching up to the national average in STEM, with 24.3 percent of degrees conferred in the state in 2012 being in STEM, short of the national average of 26.3 percent. Illinois' STEM proportion is up from 20.7 in 2009.